An arms cache belonging to the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah blew up in southern Lebanon on Tuesday because of a technical error, a security source said, injuring several people and sending a new shockwave across a nation grappling with its deepest crisis in three decades.
Hezbollah imposed a security cordon around the area of the blast in the village of Ain Qana, above the port city of Sidon, another security source said earlier. Journalists were prevented from approaching the area.
Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give official statements but said there were several injuries without giving figures.
A witness near the village said they felt the ground shake.
Footage broadcast by the local Al-Jadeed station showed men walking over scorched ground littered with debris. Damage was shown in an adjacent house where the floor was covered in glass and what appeared to be a pool of blood.
At least one fire was still burning in the location, the footage showed.
The mysterious explosion comes seven weeks after the massive explosion at Beirut port, the result of nearly 3,000 tons of improperly stored ammonium nitrate detonating. The explosion killed nearly 200 people, injured 6,500 and damaged tens of thousands of buildings in the capital, Beirut.
It is still not clear what caused the initial fire that ignited the chemicals, and so far no one has been held accountable.
The blast has further rattled a nation grappling with its worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war and still reeling from the devastating explosion that ripped through the capital.
Since the Beirut blast on Aug. 4, subsequent fires at the port and elsewhere in the capital have caused panic in Beirut and the country, whose economy is in meltdown.